US troops set to leave Afghanistan. That’s one down, another 150 or so countries to go.

US president Joe Biden recently announced his administration will pull troops out of Afghanistan. This brutal war has cost tens of thousands of lives and plunged the country into a protracted conflict. Additionally, it failed to break the Taliban’s power or bring ‘democracy’ to this Middle Eastern country. Rather, the Taliban is stronger than ever and the government in Kabul is a US puppet with problems of its own. If ever there was a case of futile and pointless war, this is it. And it serves as a prime example of western intervention making a bad situation worse.

Furthermore, though Biden’s decision to withdraw should be welcomed, we must be vigilant about whether a proxy force will remain. At the same time we also need to remember that, even if every last US troop goes home, this would still be a small drop in the ocean. The US global military presence isn’t confined to Afghanistan or the Middle East.

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The first southern US state abolishing the death penalty should give pause to British politicians and lawmakers

The mid-Atlantic US state of Virginia has moved to abolish the death penalty. This will make it the 23rd US state to consign executions to the history books. Perhaps of even greater historical importance, it’ll also become the first state in the US South – a historically conservative region – to end capital punishment.

This should serve as a wake-up call to the UK, which shows ominous signs of growing support for returning to capital punishment. Alongside the human rights problems, historical analysis shows that capital punishment has a chequered past of leading to corruption of the judicial system. And there have also been numerous miscarriages of justice.

Anti-death penalty campaigners must take this opportunity to double down their resistance against calls for its reintroduction in the UK.

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Biden may have thrown the left a few bones, but he’s keeping some of Trump’s worst policies in place

Recently elected US president Joe Biden is claiming that his administration will herald a new era following the disastrous and reactionary Trump presidency. And he’s also claiming to listen to the progressive wing in his party’s base that supported the candidacy of Democratic primary runner-up Bernie Sanders. But though he has followed through on some of these promises, he’s also left several of Trump’s worst policies completely untouched.

We shouldn’t be surprised, though. Because, as The Canary has argued on many occasions, the Democratic Party to which he belongs has long been little more than a slightly watered-down version of the Republicans. And that leaves open the question about whether the US needs a third political force to challenge the bipartisan status quo.

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Socialist candidate leads in Ecuador elections, but run-off vote could mean a return to austerity

Ecuador’s election finished without a decisive winner and is therefore set to go to a run-off between the candidates with the top two vote tallies. But who those two candidates will be is not yet clear. In a surprise upset, the center-right candidate failed to win a comfortable second-place showing and is neck-and-neck with an insurgent indigenous candidate who ran on an ‘eco-socialist’ platform.

The result is therefore a decisive and unequivocal rejection of neoliberal austerity imposed by former president Lenin Moreno. But some serious questions surround the credibility of the self-described ‘eco-socialist’ candidate. Progressive journalists have pointed out that his candidacy might be a trojan horse to implement sinister reactionary policies through the backdoor.

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Bolsonaro’s brutal reign of terror has been laid bare in a documentary exposé

The Canary has consistently reported on the multiple crimes and abuses of the far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. Now, a short but devastating documentary film has summarized his government’s lowest points.

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Behind Biden’s warnings to Putin about election meddling lies a deep hypocrisy

Newly elected US president Joe Biden had a phone call with Russian premier Vladimir Putin on 26 January. Much of the call’s items were fairly predictable – there were discussions about the Start treaty and how the US and Russia could improve relations going forward.

But the corporate-owned media has been glossing over one major piece of hypocrisy. It seems to be repeating unchallenged Biden’s implication that Russia has all the answering to do when it comes to electoral interference. But the reality is that it’s the US that has been the most flagrant offender when it comes to meddling in other countries’ elections. The corporate-owned media needs to be called out for failing to address this brazen hypocrisy in Washington’s narrative.

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After years of incompetence and destruction, Brazil’s far-right president could finally face impeachment

Far-right Brazilian politician Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency has been on a downward spiral ever since he assumed office on 1 January 2019. As The Canary has previously reported, his presidency has seen a sustained assault on Brazil’s indigenous and LGBTQI+ communities as well as a targeted campaign against political opponents and social and trade union organizers.

Now, Bolsonaro’s government seems on the verge of collapse as mass mobilizations calling for his impeachment have sprung up across the country – and from across the political spectrum. Evidently, like other far-right faux populist figures, his handling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has been bumbling at best and homicidal at worst. And as Brazil’s coronavirus deaths keep rising, Bolsonaro’s hold on power might be shortly reaching the end of its tether.

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One of Trump’s last moves as president was to embolden anti-vaxxer hysteria

The one-year anniversary of the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19) passed last December. But following the approval of multiple vaccinations from several different pharmaceutical companies, the end seemed within sight. Just as a return to normality begins to look possible, though, this notion seems increasingly threatened by the rise of a familiar foe of science, progress, and public health. The long-simmering anti-vaccination movement is going into overdrive in its attempts to portray mass vaccination as some kind of evil conspiracy.

The trump administration established a prolific record of opposing science and promoting all manner of conspiracy theories. But it has perhaps exceeded even its own standards, with one last dismal act of support of anti-vaxxer hysteria.

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Post-Covid, We Should Take a Leaf Out of Cuba’s Book and Abolish Professional Sports

2020 saw multiple professional sports leagues struggle as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In March, the NHL paused its 2019-2020 regular season while Major League Baseball cancelled spring training games. In June, the NBA then temporarily suspended its 2019-2020 season in order to “safeguard the health and well-being of NBA fans, players, team and arena personnel, media members and the general public.” The following month the NFL cancelled all 2020 preseason games. In November, Bloomberg reported that the NFL, NBA, and MLB were facing a combined $13 billion Ioss in revenue.

In the corporate media, this huge monetary loss will, of course, be mourned as part of the devastating economic fallout of the Covid pandemic. But the fact that something as trivial as spectator sports can become such a huge part of the economy and have so many lives and jobs tied to its fate is something that will be inevitably glossed over. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Covid outbreak, we should reflect on this reality and on whether the whole concept of professional sports is something worth keeping in the post-Covid era at all. Perhaps Cuba’s decision to abolish professional sports provides an example that other countries should follow.

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Biden’s Inauguration: Challenge for the Left, Launching a Movement against the Washington Status Quo

As Biden enters office, the left must properly reflect on what has been perhaps the most contemptible administration in US history, to launch a movement of our own against the bipartisan neoliberal and imperialist hegemony.

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